ABC: ‘Concentration on Policy’ Caused Obama’s ‘Shellacking,’ No ‘Mandate’ to GOP for ‘Gridlock’

  On ABC’s World News Sunday, correspondent David Kerley seemed to accept as fact President Obama’s claim that "concentration on policy issues" was the reason for his party’s recent election losses. Kerley began his report by describing Obama as "admitting" to this explanation of his political problems:

DAVID KERLEY: A more reflective President returned to Washington, admitting on Air Force One that his concentration on policy issues led to his shellacking in the midterms.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In that obsessive focus on policy, I neglected some things that matter a lot to people and rightly so.

After much of the report was devoted to the debate between Republicans and Democrats over the tax cut extension, with anchor John Berman introducing the report calling the Bush tax cuts "huge," Kerley concluded his piece by passing on Obama’s political spin as the President contended that voters did not give the GOP a "mandate" for "gridlock." Kerley: "The President was asked on Air Force One what he will tell Republican leaders when they meet later this week. He says he'll remind them that campaigning is different than governing and that he doesn't believe the American people gave a mandate to the Republicans for gridlock."

Below is a complete transcript of the report from World News Sunday on ABC:

JOHN BERMAN: Good evening. President Obama is back at the White House tonight after his long trip to Asia and facing a bracing new political reality. Congress returns tomorrow for a lame duck session that will mark the last time Democrats will be in control of the House for a while. Topping the agenda, what to do about those huge tax cuts that are about to expire. Today, the President was introspective, even contrite. We begin with David Kerley in Washington.

DAVID KERLEY: A more reflective President returned to Washington, admitting on Air Force One that his concentration on policy issues led to his shellacking in the midterms.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In that obsessive focus on policy, I neglected some things that matter a lot to people and rightly so.

KERLEY: Returning with disappointing results negotiating with Asian allies, the President must now negotiate with a lame duck Congress on those expiring tax cuts.

SENATOR JIM DEMINT (R-SC): I don't think there's any room to negotiate on raising taxes, particularly on smaller businesses. I hope we can get a permanent extension.

KERLEY: Even though the President has long called for letting the tax cuts for the rich expire-

DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: We can't afford to borrow another $700 billion to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

KERLEY: There are signs tonight that the White House may give in to Republican demands and agree to at least to a temporary extension for the rich or-

SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): What if we moved it up to a million dollars? Everyone below a million dollars will get a tax cut, but the millionaires and billionaires won’t.

KERLEY: It's not just tax cuts facing the lame duck session. There are calls to ban earmarks - budget items directed to members’ districts - lifting the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy for gay service members, and a vote on a strategic missile deal with Russia. That was the subject of Mr. Obama's last meeting in Asia with his Russian counterpart. The past four days have been packed with meetings, little time for sightseeing until today. Traveling with the President, ABC's Karen Travers.

KAREN TRAVERS: So, before he fired up the engines of Air Force One to head back home, he took a little bit of time to play tourist. The President visited the iconic great Buddah, a 44-foot tall bronze statue in Kamakura which he first toured as a young boy with his late mother.

OBAMA: This is my second time. First time I was this big.

KERLEY: He did remember to pick up some souvenirs. He dropped by the gift shop on his way out to buy two bracelets for his daughters back home.

KERLEY: The President was asked on Air Force One what he will tell Republican leaders when they meet later this week. He says he'll remind them that campaigning is different than governing and that he doesn't believe the American people gave a mandate to the Republicans for gridlock.